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Regarding Dipak Basu’s May 17 letter, “Higher education going to seed“: I beg to disagree with the economics professor in Nagasaki. He should remember that there is a difference between national and private universities in Japan. I taught at a private university for 34 years and found so much extra money available to teachers for software, library and personal books, travel allowances for conferences, and research that it was hard to spend it all every year. My university was also clean, with the buildings and grounds beautifully maintained.

I sent my children to American universities and found Japanese universities positively cheap in comparison. My college has an elective one-semester program for students to study at a similar American college, but few students go as their parents complain about the high fees and tuition at that American college, which was much cheaper than the universities I sent my children to.

I also wonder if Basu is considered a full staff member with the same conditions as other professors, or if he has some sort of special contract. National universities are often notorious for treating non-Japanese quite differently in terms of requiring participation at meetings, committee work, salary and, in some cases — as with my husband who worked at one national university for nine years — not deducting money from salaries and putting it into a national pension plan.

cynthia seton

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